The Stream, February 7: Drilling for Oil, Gas and New Life Forms

Despite the abundance of water in the Great Lakes, some areas in the region could face severe water shortages as a result of growing demand and approaching climate change, a five-year study by the U.S. Geological Survey says. In some places, like the Chicago-Milwaukee metro area, groundwater levels have plummeted about 1,000 feet and could drop even more in the next decades.

While the United States is racing to develop its shale oil and gas, France wants to delay its first drillings until it carries out full environmental studies, Reuters reports. In the United Kingdom, a study by a consumer co-operative called for a halt on controversial gas drilling projects over fears that they pose significant risks to public health and the environment. Stay tuned for more, as Europe taps its unconventional fuel reserves.

But drilling is going apace on the South Pole, where Russian scientists are 5 meters away from breaching the largest and deepest of Antarctica’s subglacial lakes, and going into depths that might reveal new life forms, show how the planet was in tropical prehistoric times and how life evolved.

Can the world’s largest forest emit more carbon than China, the biggest polluting nation in the world? Scientists warn that the mass tree deaths in last year’s devastating Amazon drought raise concerns that the rainforest could turn from a carbon sink to a vast carbon source. This can cause more droughts and more tree deaths, and accelerate climate change.

A few months after a water rights settlement granted the Navajo Nation access to the San Juan River, two cities in New Mexico have joined forces to contest the deal. To learn more about this lingering dispute, browse Circle of Blue’s archives.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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